Saturday, September 30, 2006

And Another Right-wing Pedo!

Just recently a list came out of US Republicans arrested for pedophilia and similar sex crimes. It was a long list. See

http://www.angelashelton.com/weblog/2006/09/26/our-elected-officials/


Well now here's another one to add to the list. This time a 36-year-old Christian conservative activist and lawyer with close ties to Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh, head of the Orange County Republican Party. See

http://www.ocweekly.com/news/news/our-thing/25902/

Naming The Enemy

There has been some difficulty getting a correct handle on the right wing tendency that has become hegemonic over the last 25 to 30 years. Neoliberal is used frequently in Europe, but the problem is, nothing is liberal about them. New Right was a good term, but it seems to have gotten left behind in the Reagan days. Generally people in North America, have used the word “Neocon” to describe the new face of reaction. Neocon was once used in a narrow sense to describe the group that developed under Irving and William Kristol, Wolfowitz and Pearl. But how does one describe Chaney, Rumsfeld, Bush, B-liar etc? Furthermore, Neocons say the term is anti-semitic, since many of the original conmen were Zionists. And last but not least, other than 1950's social values, there is nothing the least conservative about neoconservatism. Better to have a new term. The way to come up with a new term is to zero in on the central aspects of a belief system. Fot this tendency this is its newness and its in-your-face authoritarianism. I suggest calling them the “New Authoritarian Tendency”. A mouthful, true, but the acronym could be NAT or NATcy. Either one has great polemical value. The first reminds you of a blood sucking insect pest and the second, well, you know who...

Monday, September 25, 2006

How To Lie Like A Politician

One thing I have noticed in my years of blogging and commenting in news groups is the inability of many people, especially on the authoritarian right, to argue rationally. The following is a lesson in logic and argumentation that I have written to help these unfortunate individuals. For anyone wishing to delve further into the logical fallacies used in argumentation see “Straight Thinking - Crooked Thinking” by Robert Thouless. An on line summary can be found at http://www.246.dk/38tricks.html


There are a number of tricks and logical fallacies that politicos and other scoundrels use to win arguments. They use these dishonest means since the truth would not further their cause. These tricks and fallacies have been used so often they have become the common currency of argument. People you could never accuse of lying use them out of ignorance, and think they are winning their point in debate. (Instead of making fools of themselves to anyone in the know.) Part of the problem rests with our wretched education system which waits until university to teach basic logic, and even then does not make it a required subject – the sorry results of which are all too obvious in many academic debates and publications. Anyway, here is a list of common tricks.

*The Straw Man. This is the classic, most common, and one of the crudest means of apparently winning an argument. One sets up a false, ridiculous, or exaggerated statement and claims that this is what their opponent believes. Set up thus, the straw man is easy to knock down and defeat. A typical example you see all the time is ‘anarchists are against organization’, when in fact we favor voluntary, non-authoritarian organization. The Straw Man gets much use in the media – in the 60’s peace marchers were straw-manned as being Communists, today they are “Saddam lovers”. Words and concepts have meaning. A liberal is not socialist, nor is a socialist a Marxist Leninist communist. And there are different varieties of liberals, socialists and communists. All of this is fudged over with the straw man attack. Another method of straw manning is to absolutize a statement. Suppose you come out in favor of local food production as an environmental measure. A dishonest anti-environmentalist might well scoff that you want to grow bananas and oranges in greenhouses sooner than import them, the reality being, of course, that you only want to grow locally those fruits and vegetables that make sense climate-wise. The propagandist is aided in his lies by the fact that sometimes a small minority of people do take an idea to ridiculous extremes or understand it poorly. Hence, it is possible to find irrational anarchists and apologists for terrorism, but the Big Lie is when you tar an entire group with these views.

*The Red Herring. The name probably came from the trick of dragging a fish across one’s path to deflect the tracking dogs. And that is basically it, the propagandist is faced with an uncomfortable truth and instead of dealing with it honestly, deflects the argument on to another terrain. Example - Suppose you tell a rightist that Pinochet was a tyrant. If dishonest (or ignorant of logic) he might well respond with, “Well, what about Castro?” This is a logical fallacy, Castro's dictatorial nature does not make Pinochet any less of a tyrant, and it is him we are talking about and no one else. At best, the Red Herring can show one to be a hypocrite, but this still does not negate the basic truth, that Pinochet was a dictator.

*Emotional Bullying, Invective And Ridicule. These related tricks are means to deflect arguments or to seeming counter-act arguments when one has little or no real ammunition. We are all familiar with the politician bellowing about how we must go fight a war in Afghanistan or the “terrists” will be at our back door. You can come up with hundreds of examples, but they all boil down to whipping up irrational emotions and bullying the opponent into silence. Ridicule and invective are used when one can’t attack someone any other way other than attempt to make them look venal, stupid or cruel. One’s opponent just doesn’t just have a different viewpoint, but is asinine, ignorant, a sell-out, a fool, or in a milder form, ‘confused’. Right-wingers like O'Reilly and Coulter specialize in bullying and invective.

* Hyperbole. Another common trick is to grossly inflate problems and dangers. This could also be called the Chicken Little Syndrome. Conservatives are always on about the immanent collapse of civilization any time their morality is challenged. Saddam's Iraq as a major military threat to the US is another example.

Sarcasm. Any 9 year old knows how to be sarcastic. This is the Bart Simpson school of politics. Check out Marx and Lenin’s writings. Their usual trick is to slather their opponents with sarcastic remarks. Eg. Marx’s continual reference to his opponent Max Stirner as ‘Saint Max’.

* Begging The Question is a form of faulty reasoning. What is supposed to be evidence is actually part of the conclusion. Also called circular reasoning. Eg. Nick is biased against Communism. The reason he is biased is because he is ignorant. Therefore Nick is not a reliable critic of Communism. Nick’s ignorance is given as a reason for his bias and his bias is given as a reason for his incompetence as a critic. Essentially, what is being said is that Nick is incompetent because he is incompetent. This does not mean that one's opponent might well be ignorant. But one has to show where he is lacking in knowledge rather than just writing him off as ignorant. The use of pejorative or emotionally laden language is also a form of question begging. Suppose in a public meeting someone denounces a proposal to cut taxes as ‘fascist’ or refers to a week-old fetus as a ‘baby’. The con-job here is to divert the listener’s sympathy toward the speaker’s opposition to tax cuts or abortion by using emotionally loaded language. Of course, terms such as ‘fascist’ and ‘baby’ used in such contexts have no bearing upon the truth or untruth of the arguments they are trying to defeat. Another example of question begging “That is a Marxist argument.” (implying I won't accept it.) Or “You sound like Hayek.” (implying therefore you are wrong.) The question that is begged for? Is everything that Marx or Hayek wrote wrong? The problem is not whether an argument is Marxian or Hayekian, but whether it is true or not.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Jack and Tommy

I am no great friend of the NDP or of Jack Layton, but the recent slanders against the leader of the NDP for his opposition to the Afghan adventure in sucking up to the US Empire have jogged my memory. Back in 1970, PM Trudeau imposed the War Measures Act against the dozen or so FLQ members who had kidnapped Cross and Laporte. Tommy Douglas stood up in Parliament and loudly criticized the imposition of the act and voted against it. For this he was castigated, and if memory serves me correctly, even some of his own party members did not vote with him. Well, 35 years later, all but the most died-in-th-wool Trudeau apologists see the use of the War Measures Act as a major error, something that did more to inflame nationalist passions and create lasting resentment among Quebec's intellectuals than anything since the Conscription Crisis of WW2. Tommy has been totally vindicated. I suspect 35 years from now, if we are still here, we will look at Jack in the same way. (Not to imply he is cut from the same cloth as Douglas, by the way.)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Climate Change Caused Civilisation, Scientist Says

By Alok Jha, science correspondent, Guardian, September 8, 2006

More information that helps to back up the theories of state origin in “Saharasia” and “The Primal Wound” (1) The only problem is that the article fails to distinguish between a complex society or civilization and one that has a state. Complex societies such as those of Old Europe or Catyl Huyuk in Turkey existed BEFORE climate dessication and the invention of the state.

An increase in harsh, arid conditions across the globe around 5,000 years ago forced people to start living in stable communities around remaining water sources. The major shift in climate, caused by natural fluctuations in the Earth's orbit around the sun, weakened the monsoon systems in the northern hemisphere, where humans had previously enjoyed a fruitful hunter-gatherer existence.

"We can certainly say that the earliest civilisations arose on the backdrop of increasing aridity, which are driven by natural, global-scale changes in climate," said Nick Brooks of the University of East Anglia. "The cultural transitions track changes in environmental conditions quite closely."

Speaking at the British Association festival of science in Norwich, Dr Brooks said his research turned traditional ideas of how the world's first civilisations - such as those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley region and South America - on their head...

Many anthropologists think that civilisation was spread gradually among populations after it began in some part of the world. "A current popular theory is that the world's first civilisation developed because it could; the environment was relatively benign," said Dr Brooks. "This is based on the argument of the last 10,000 years being climatically very stable and quite conducive to flourishing of agriculture and large, urban civilisations."

But Dr Brooks argued that civilisation arose instead from environmental catastrophes. His work is focused on the Sahara region, where he says the cultural history shows that, around 5-10,000 years ago, the humid areas there abruptly changed into the Sahara desert we see today.

He added that the story was similar in the other cradles of civilisation around the world. "We find similar evidence for increasing aridity ... and the emergence of urban centres where people have been forced to congregate by a drying environment."

Dr Brooks said that the emergence of society was not a universally positive development. For a lot of people, life got harder. "We have increases in social inequality, hierarchy, organised violence and warfare," he said. "People are labouring in the fields as agriculturalists not only for themselves but also for non food producers."

There was even a decrease in life expectancy in some areas: an ancient Egyptian or Roman had a shorter life than the average hunter-gatherers that preceded those societies, for
example.

Without the driving force of climate change, human societies might have evolved far more slowly, said Dr Brooks. "Maybe we would have remained village farmers and herders, hunter-gatherers and so on," he said. "Perhaps you'd have a more disparate, less population-dense kind of civilisation."
1.

http://www.orgonelab.org/saharasia.htm, http://www.geocities.com/vcmtalk/primalwound.html

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Montreal Killings As Pseudo-rebellion

One aspect overlooked in the commentaries about the recent Montreal shooting is the marketing of pseudo-rebellion. Many disaffected young people, rather than becoming genuine rebels and trying to change the system, identify with groups that project an image of rebellion but are reactionary in outlook. Think of metalers, gangstas, Goths, Emo's and whatever similar cult that comes along. All these groups are anti-social, narcissistic and cynical. It is the same message over and over, “Society sucks, nothing can be done about it.” There is a fascination for violence or death. And in the same way that the marketed pseudo-freedom of owning a hot car and driving fast results in unnecessary mayhem, the end result of anti-social youth sub-cultures is also death.


Prior to the pseudo-rebels, there were (and still are, I should add) youth cultures with a genuine rebel content. Think of the hippies, Yippies and punk movement. Even though considered anti-social by the media, they were not. Rather, they attempted to create alternate societies as a means to change society as a whole. These same counter-culturalists were (and are) at the forefront of the peace, environmental and anti-globalist movements. Is the marketing of pseudo-rebellion at a time of growing opposition to the corporate order merely a coincidence?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The State Socialism of the Rich

The state is the only institution in the world that can bring a corporation to life. It alone grants corporations their essential rights, such as legal person hood and limited liability, and it compels them always to put profits first. It raises police forces and armies and builds courthouses and prisons (all compulsorily paid for by citizens) to enforce corporate property rights – rights themselves created by the state. And only the state, in conjunction with other states, can enter into international trade deals and create global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, that, in turn, limit its ability to regulate the corporations and property rights it has created.


Without the state, the corporation is nothing, Literally nothing.


It is therefore a mistake to believe that because corporations are now strong, the state has become weak. Economic globalization and deregulation have diminished the state's capacity to protect the public interest... Overall, however, the state's power has not been reduced. It has been redistributed, more tightly connected to the needs and interests of the corporations...


From “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan Viking 2004

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Must Be Something In The Water!


Teen girl charged
with posting nude photos on Internet

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A 15-year-old girl has been arrested for taking nude photographs of her self and posting them on the Internet, police said.

The girl, whose identity was withheld, was accused of sending out photographs of herself in various states of undress and performing a variety of sexual acts. She sent them to people she met in chat rooms on the Internet, police said.

Police seized her computer and found dozens of photographs stored on the hard drive. Authorities did not say how police learned about the girl.

She has been charged with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography. From USA TODAY http://www.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2004-03-29-child-self-porn_x.htm

Is it me, or is there not something really weird about these charges? For sure we don't want minors posting nude pics of themselves on the Net and helping to encourage pedos. But how, I ask, in the name of Bakunin can a person be charged with having kiddie porn when they are her own pics, that she took herself? How also can she be charged with sexual abuse when she did these things to herself? Does this mean that if a 15 year old spanks the monkey, he or she is guilty of sexual abuse. Doesn't this give the old Victorian notion of “self-abuse” a new and even more perverse twist? For me, this is just further evidence that the USA is run by complete and total lunatics.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Profile of a Psychopath

This article came from a posting on http://thetyee.ca/ > The Tyee and was written by “A Saskatchewan Farmer.” I think it a really good summation of the nature of the psychopath and the relation between this illness and authoritarianism. (Posted with permission from the author.)

Profile of a Psychopath.


- controlling (always, its is controlling the free will of others, usually through force or intimidation)
- shallow, self centered (its always me, I, mine, with a narrow perception created by a complete disconnect with the needs and wants of anyone else (mainly because of a belief structure that states "it will get in the way of my own needs and wants". Its "me first" at all costs regardless of the environmental, emotional, mental, physical and life damage and destruction. And don't they sing the this first and that first to get their way first? Its military first, Canada first, Ontario first, BC first, unions first, America first, Republicans first, Jesus first, minorities first, women and children first, can't anyone get it right? Try all life in the universe first!)
- vengeful and spiteful to those who will not let them get their way, or challenge their self appointed authority.
- authoritarian
- driven by their own self getting mechanisms and ego driven goals, regardless of who or what has to pay or in other words, "to succeed at everyone else's expense".
- Predatorial (all else is considered prey or conquest)
- Highly opportunistic (again, at everyone and anyone else's expense.)

The psychopath is quite prevalent in civilizations around the world, exhibiting bizarre, cold behavior for anything that gets in the way of their lust for power. Approximately 1 to 3% of the population is considered to have psychopathic tendencies or traits, depending on the severity of their destructive behavior. The sad truth is that their pursuit of power is often accompanied by those who believe the psychopath has "excellent leadership qualities" due to their drive for power and the bottom line. Whatever the goal is, be it money, sex, social prestige, political and or corporate power or otherwise, it is an ego run amuck and there are far more psychopaths out there than anyone would like to admit. Truly.

We have in this world, CEO's and politicians that are killing the life on this planet through the destruction of the environment from war, waste, and control freaked disregard for all life, never mind human and a good number of us are lauding them as heroes because they are merely wealthy and powerful. In the end, in the final summation, the positions of power are beacons of light to the "psychopath". And until the average Joe realizes the true profile of a psychopath, how to spot and recognize one, and finally, how to "heal" them through reconnecting them with the wants and needs of all other life, we will never be safe regardless of how many bombs and guns we own. Its just how it is In the end, we will know the truth behind this statement. "In order to lead, one must follow." And this next one. "In order to follow, one must lead." And in case this confuses some of you, then try to wear other hats and shoes besides your own. Try other perspectives, not just from the the psychopaths point of view of role playing solely to define weaknesses and strengths to rule and plunder what a psychopath considers as enemy, ally or pawn... But from the perspective that is at all levels, emotional, logical and yes, spiritual for without this last connection, there is no connection to the universal needs of the whole and without it, the big picture is never seen.

Some notable psychopaths of this present day according to such profiles are, GWB junior, Steven Harper, drunkard Campbell, Ehmud Ohbert, various cult leaders, serial killers, sexual predators, Satanists, and a large host of CEO's, namely in chemicals, oil, defense, HMO's, financial institutions and so on.

No one will ever be truly safe until the psychological profile of a psychopath is truly revealed for all that it is and heavily screened from childhood on up, with major scrutiny given in leadership roles. And this is also next to impossible to stop, it seems, for the vast majority of all psychological profiles, psychopaths being but one of them, have one thing in common. They've been abused. Part of an ongoing wheel of perpetual abuse, from one generation to the next. Combine this with the lies and fallacies that one swallows as real even though it might be absent of personally experienced abuse, and... like I say. We can serve the truth hot, or cold. Take your pick. But in the end, peace will not come until the truth is truly served with love.

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